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Contraction of SA economy did little to affect rand strength

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JOHANNESBURG – Analysts say the contraction of the local economy last year did little to dent the strength of the rand against the dollar, euro and pound.

The GDP estimates released in Pretoria on Tuesday show that the economy grew by a meagre 0.3% last year.

Since the start of the year the rand has been trading between R13.82 and R12.86 against the dollar.

That’s a gain of about 5.5% in the last three months despite mounting speculation that rates will go up in the US next week.

Rand Merchant Bank’s Jan Sluis-Cremer says a better outlook, calmer political climate and higher commodity prices have worked in the local currency’s favour.

“They’re expecting growth to pick up later this year. We’re not importing that much, but we’re still exporting with slightly higher commodity prices and that all works in our favour at the moment.”

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